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Canadian Maple Butter Tarts

Happy 149th Birthday Canada! To celebrate this day, I thought it was only fitting to feature a recipe using maple syrup produced by the same maple trees who's leaf graces our national's THAT for symbolic...perhaps as Canadian as Tim Horton's coffee, Bob & Doug McKenzie and Hockey Night in Canada!

Butter tarts are a favourite among Canadians and quite a sticky subject for some! Many like their tarts runny and full of raisins, while others argue that the bubbled over, sticky topped tart is the only way to go...even though the "gloves are off" when it comes to the "finished product" preference, I think we can all agree that we Canadians stick together when it comes to being proud of our country and our butter tarts!

These slightly runny tarts have a Canadian maple flavour and each bite boasts of plump juicy raisins...I just described the raisins like that because I thought it sounded enticing but I don't like raisins in tarts, so you can also make these plain, with pecans or walnuts, coconut or even add some chocolate chips (my personal fave!).

To make these butter tarts, you will need pastry (homemade or you can buy pre-made tart shells), real maple syrup (not artificial), corn syrup, dark and light brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, white vinegar, 3 whole eggs and raisins (you may also use nuts, coconut or chocolate chips instead of raisins...or use 'em all, go crazy!)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, then in a large bowl, add 3/4 cups of dark brown sugar and a 1/2 cup of light brown sugar (I like to use a mixture of both sugars because I find that the dark brown sugar compliments the maple flavour...if you don't have dark brown sugar, light brown will be just fine too)...

Next, add a 1/4 cup of melted butter...on another note, I just noticed that my thumbnail is really not very clean in this photo...I was gardening...I really was!! Bet you're glad that you're not eating the tarts that I made?!

...a 1/4 cup of corn syrup,

...and a 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup.

Then, pour in 1-1/2 tsp.'s of vanilla extract,

...1 tsp. of white vinegar,

...and 3 whole eggs.

Whisk mixture well after each egg addition...put filling in the fridge while you prepare the tart shells.

If using homemade pastry, roll out fairly thin, cut out using a round cutter (or even a circular Tupperware lid will work too) and fit the circles of pastry into a standard 12 cup muffin pan.

Next, toss some raisins into the bottom of the shells (I used about a 1/4 cup of raisins divided up among 12 tart shells)...

...then, pour the filling into the shells to about 2/3 full (I transferred the filling from the bowl that I made it in, to a large is much easier with less mess to fill the tart shells using a pitcher with a pourable spout).

Bake in your preheated 425 degree oven for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes...

....or until pastry is golden brown and centres appear slightly jiggly when you move the baking tin. While the tarts are still hot, twist them around in the tin to loosen (in case some filling ran down into the tin, twisting the tarts will release the pastry from the filling while it's hot...when the filling is cold, it is like glue and you may have to chisel out your tarts!)

Once the tarts are cool enough to handle, remove them from the tins and place on a wire rack to cool.

The buttertarts will be very runny when they are warm, but will set up some when cool...warm tarts are excellent with a scoop of ice cream!

Canadian Maple Butter tarts

Pastry for 12 tart shells (if you are using store bought shells, you will need about 18-24)

3/4 cups of dark brown sugar

1/2 cup of light brown sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup of corn syrup

1/4 cup of melted butter

1-1/2 tsp.'s of vanilla extract

1 tsp. of white vinegar

3 whole eggs

1/4 cup of raisins ( may also use pecans, walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips or have them plain)

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees then in a large bowl, combine the sugars, maple and corn syrups, melted butter, vanilla extract and vinegar.

2. Next, add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.

3. Divide the 1/4 cup of raisins among the 12 tart shells and pour filling into each measuring about 2/3 full.

4. Bake tarts at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and the centres of the tarts jiggle slightly.

5. Remove from oven and place pan on wire cooling rack...when tarts are cool enough to handle, remove from tins and cool completely on wire racks.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or straight up with a hot cup of coffee...a "Double Double" even...can't get more Canadian than that, eh?! :)

* Makes about 12 tarts using homemade pastry and fit into standard muffin tins or 18-24 using store bought tart shells.

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